It is so easy, in this current climate, to feel discouraged and full of anxiety as our world has been flipped upside down. My hope is that this poem helps to settle the sorrows and calm the fears through this reminder of who God is. For me, when I fix my eyes on Jesus; on what He has done in my life and throughout history, I am filled with tremendous peace. This peace comes from a place of confidence and trust in who God is. God is abounding in love and faithfulness (psalm 86:15), God is our ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1-3), He is our refuge (Deuteronomy 33:27), victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57) and we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us (Roman 8:37).
And I will love you
With a fragile delicacy
Honouring your vase like heart
I will polish you with words of love
Of mastery, of magic
I will display you on the highest mantle
The pinnacle of my life
For all the world to see
And if there ever comes a time
Where my actions fall short
And my words too clumsy, too brash
I will fill all the cracks in you
With the tenderness you deserve
For there is immeasurable beauty
In your stunning sensitivity
A heart so feeling, so full
And I will love you
With all the gentleness & tenderness
Your heart requires
And I will love you
Until all the seeds in you bloom full
And I will love you
And ever more
I will love you.
Vase Heart came, like many of my poems, from a self-reflective state. The poem grow out of the understanding that I am a sensitive soul and the vase heart in question is essentially mine. When I was younger, at times, I struggled with being sensitive. On those days when I felt my heart was unsuited for this world, I would imagine what it would be like if I were to maintain the same state of perpetual apathy I would see displayed in others. Would it be better if I were this way? Easier? I’d asked myself and, thankfully, the answer has always been no.
To be sensitive, to have the strength to feel the colourful spectrum of emotions that make us alive, that make us human, is a gift. It is so important to stay soft, to stay loving in the midst of the cruelty we are faced with in the world. There is strength in this. There is power in this.
The poetic voice in this poem is the ideal lover for the sensitive soul, a lover who honours and respects your sensitivity and learns to love you through it. It forms as a reminder for those who need it that this love is out there and is worth waiting for.
All in all, his poem is about loving with intention and grace, the way God encourages us to love, the way God loves us.
In silence, I stand
Nipples bared and bowed
To the bravery of the stolen
Of the forgotten voices
Of the raped
Of the tortured
Of those killed in the name of freedom
I bare my body
I surrender this suit
I plaster truth
I carve it into the bones of me
Until the world hears
En Chile torturan violan y matan.
“In Chile they torture, rape and kill.”
The story behind the poem My Body, My Protest, begins with me stumbling into bed at 4:30am, slightly (or not so slightly) intoxicated after a night out dancing. I was doing the habitual scroll through my Instagram timeline when I came across an E! News post detailing the events occurring at the Latin Grammy’s. This is where I first saw Mon Laferte’s political red carpet protest moment, where she completely bares her chest to strategically raise awareness of the grotesque acts of police brutality taking place in Chile right now.
Chile is currently experiencing a season of political unrest as thousands exercise their political right to protest. Protesters are taking to the streets to express their fury at the establishment and are demanding social reforms to address the high levels of inequality the country is experiencing.
Here is a useful link for more details on what is happening/has happened in Chile during the protests: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-50512093?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/c452lzylemmt/chile-protests&link_location=live-reporting-story
In summary, 22 people have been killed as a result of excessive police force, while thousands have been seriously injured, tortured and/or sexually assaulted. These are absolutely abhorrent acts of injustice and I was profoundly moved by this whole situation, compelling me to write something about it then and there. I deeply admire Mon Laferte for using her platform to raise awareness of the human rights abuses that are happening all over the world. Mon Laferte reminded us all that our bodies are not merely sexual tools, they are powerful vessels – holding, giving and supporting life.
Here Mon Laferte chose to use her body to express a significant message. She utilised the power of the naked female form to highlight our human right to protest, to challenge norms, to shake systems, to change the world.
There will be times you are at your lowest points
When anguish engulfs you and there is nowhere left to run
And the words of our loved ones fall flat, hallow
No one can meet you in this darkness
And the support will seem lack lustre
Will seem disingenuous
Will be flawed
And you retreat within, in solitude
Praying away this poison chalice
This cup of suffering
In a manic display
Until your legs give way and succumb
To the gravity of surrender
Beyond the unrest
Beyond the disquiet of your anxiety
The starring of the still small voice
Overtakes you to reveal
“Beyond this pain
Beyond this bitter suffering
And far beyond what your mind can perceive
Lays a promise, a hope,
A purpose for all that be
Rooted in my immeasurable love
And, oh, how I love you,
One day you will see
The glory and the splendour
Of an eternity with me.”
And as these words leave me
Some things do stay
Like the peace that passeth understanding
To guide me on my way.
I was in my room reading Matthew 26:36-46 and I was struck by the sheer humanness of Jesus. The lines –
38 “and he said to them, ‘The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me. Stay here and keep watch with me.’
– hit me first and birthed the opening lines of my poem Gethsemane. We have all experienced extremely low and painful moments in our lives, what this passage reveals to us is that Jesus has been there too. In my weakest and most heartbroken, when the sorrow in my heart was so great it almost crushed me – God has felt this too. I am floored that this is a Love and this is a God who intimately knows my suffering and that through suffering I can grow deeper in my relationship with Christ.
The lines –
40 “Then he returned to the three disciples and found them asleep; and he said to Peter, ‘How is it that you three were not able to keep watch with me for even one hour?'”
– hit me next and I felt the disappointment Jesus must have felt in that moment when he found his disciples asleep. The experience of being disappointed by your friends and loved ones is profoundly universal and I wanted to capture that my poem as much as I could. People let us down and the weight of that disappointment can be enormously heavy but I have found, in my own experiences of disappointment, that God can meet us there and help us carry that weight (and even take it away).
Looking back at Seasons Change I can see how the inspirations that drove the poem really shine through. One being this poem:
“Of all the people you have kissed she was your favourite because she didn’t flinch when you curled your hand around her neck and tightened. She said “I break the law because I’ve never broken a heart and I want to know what it feels like to be the brick not the window pane”. When she’s drunk she’ll dress up for you, all straps & lace & stockings. When she’s high she’ll dress down for you, all skin & skin & skin.” – by Annabelle Nyst
These powerful, delicate lines have followed me for over 5 years, still affecting me each time I read them and I wanted to write a poem that carried the same energy and life (a very hard task but at least I tried).
From what started off as a few lines, my poem gained a life of its own as I got really involved with the idea that I wanted this poem to be about love, to about a relationship that goes through natural seasons. A love that grows from an intense infatuation into a mild disdain, leading to an eventual break up. I wanted this poem to really embody the imagery of earth’s four seasons (here’s hoping I achieved that??).
When I wrote “Seasons Change” in 2017, it may have been a few months after a month long romance I had that I couldn’t say inspired this poem entirely as the love presented in this poem is grounded in a long-standing relationship that I had yet to experience. But I find it so interesting how I can transfigure my experience, of a short whirlwind romance, into a poem about a true love relationship that grew cold over time and only freedom from that relationship could bring my protagonist back to the warmth of her own self love. But I guess that’s the beauty of art and partially fictional prose.
I can relate to this poem a lot more now after recently coming out of a relationship and feeling the comfort and relief that can come from a much needed time alone. It’s interesting to think that this poem kind of foreshadows things I was yet to experience. But that could be a result of time being an illusion, that the dividing line between past, present and future is an illusion, that everything that has happened or will happen is happening right now in this very moment but we are unable to perceive it. But I digress…
This poem is about a seasonal love affair that contains the same torrid energy as the weather, holding the same beauty and inescapably mystery.
Ruth Elora -x-
P.S. Read ‘Seasons Change‘ if you haven’t yet, love ya xx
You were my climate
I would bend & yield to your slightest variation
When you were my sun, I would dress down for you, all skin, melanin, exposure
Blanketed by your warmth
I vacationed in your love
Until the season called for your coldness
I would grimace & endure your presence
Like a sore throat in recovery
The autumns of your indifference
Brought with it a kaleidoscope of mystery
As the leaves fell from our dreams
We marvelled at the unsettling paradox
That the beauty of our ideals may never be fully actualised
But the beauty remains unwavering
All the same
The winter of our love
Brought with it a necessary mourning
As I purged you, heart and soul
Piercing through with icy precision
I allowed it to hurt
I gloried in the courage it took to brave your coldness
Until the last morsel of this blizzarding love
Bringing forth a spring of reflection
As I meditated on all the reasons I had to leave:
That no matter how hard I tried to adapt
To your vicissitudes
Your endless variations
I found myself staring
At this ticket back
For my heart is a tropical island
Of dreams & beauty & irresistible warmth
Until my rain comes like a hot baptism
Ready to cleanse & make a new
To saver in the promise of a warmer tomorrow
And for now, maybe that’s what I need more
As I vacationed in your temperate maritime climate
It is time for this sojourning soldier to return home
Tonight we dance.
With Electrified bodies
With minds floating far from concerns,
Tonight we riot.
All leather skirts and red lips to the ready
We use our fashion to scream at convention
At the uniform
At the mundane business of the working.
For tonight is Saturday
Every hour of this night is our own.
So let us lavish in laughter, in dancing and gin
As we brace ourselves for the week to begin.